I feel like I’ve done something on the magnitude of a thousand interviews in the last week. I’m sure it’s actually only something like ten or twelve, but when you’re juggling those with a full festival screenings schedule, it can seem overwhelming.
One thing that makes it worthwhile, though, is when you check in with someone who has always been fun in interviews, and that’s a fair description of Woody Harrelson. Every single time I’ve chatted with him, it’s been fun. There was one night in a wings restaurant when he showed up unannounced and joined us, and he was as sharp and funny and immediately friendly as you could have hoped, and then at press day after press day, he shows up with the right attitude about these things. Yes, we’re all there doing a job, but no, it doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth. If you talk to him like a real person, he’ll do the same, and he’s one of my favorite people to bump into on a press day.
When we sat down in Toronto, it was to discuss his role in “Seven Psychopaths,” which he stepped into at the last moment when Mickey Rourke dropped out. While it would make sense for Mickey to play a character who was willing to kill anyone in order to get his little dog back, I can’t imagine Rourke expertly navigating the shifts in tone in the script the way Harrelson does. It’s very canny work.
Towards the end of our chat, I had to take the opportunity to ask him about how things are going with Francis Lawrence, the director of “Catching Fire,” the “Hunger Games” sequel that just began production this week. It can be hard for a cast when they’re already bonded around one director to make room for a new director, especially if they have very different styles of working with actors.
Harrelson seems happy, though, and we thought we’d let you hear what he has to say about the new boss now, while you can look for the rest of our “Seven Psychopaths” interviews, including my talk with Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken together, a little closer to that film’s release.
“Seven Psychopaths” opens October 12, 2012.
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” opens November 22, 2013.